The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has issued a notice of rules violation to Dr. Jeffrey Stuart Brown, according to a report from the New York Times. Dr. Brown, a Texas-based endocrinologist, has treated athletes on the Nike Oregon Project team and is reportedly the personal physician to coach Alberto Salazar.
The Times notes that “the notice is a formal signal that officials are pursuing sanctions in the case.” Following the receipt of the notice, Dr. Brown can respond to allegations in writing. The case will then go to a review board, who will decide whether to bring about charges. Then Dr. Brown can either accept or challenge any charges in arbitration before sanctions are handed down.
This is the latest step in USADA’s ongoing investigation into Salazar and his team that began two years ago. In June 2015, ProPublica published allegations that Oregon Project coaches and athletes were forced to take unneeded medications to enhance performance.
Last month, the Times published a leaked USADA report that included testimony from a few Oregon Project athletes. It revealed that Salazar had sent athletes to Dr. Brown for procedures and prescriptions, while receiving a monthly retainer from the team. Dr. Brown is accused of giving athletes infusions of L-carnitine in amounts that were over the legal limit, and altering medical records to cover it up. L-carnitine occurs naturally in the body and helps convert fat to energy. It is not a banned substance, but USADA prohibits infusions of more than 50 mL per 6 hour.
In response to the leaked documents, Dr. Brown told the Times through his lawyer that he “will not be bullied or coerced regardless of tactics used, and I intend to fully defend myself against any baseless allegations brought against me in any forum.”
USADA refused to comment to the Times, since the investigation is in progress. In a statement to the Oregonian last month, Salazar said the “conjecture regarding L-carnitine is simply wrong.”